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Young Professionals Institute marks second year of success

Monday, 04 May 2009

The University of Maine at Presque Isle and Momentum Aroostook wrapped up their second Young Professionals Institute on April 22 with a Mock Board Meeting, Business Reception and Etiquette Dinner in the Campus Center. The program marked its second year of success in providing the area's young professionals with a one-of-a-kind leadership development opportunity.

This year's Young Professionals Institute brought together a dozen professionals from across Aroostook County to further develop their skills in public speaking, professional writing, social networking, and interaction with the media. Over the course of eight weeks starting in early March, the group learned through role-playing scenarios and hands-on activities how to write eye-catching proposals, deliver successful oral presentations, use best practices in written communication, and get involved in their communities. The Institute was facilitated by President Don Zillman, Professor Clare Exner, Matt McHatten of MMG Insurance, members of Momentum Aroostook, several local business and community leaders, and graduates of the first Young Professionals Institute.

"YPI was created as a way for the younger generation of professionals to build skills while encouraging them to stay in the area," Clare Exner, the chair of UMPI's College of Professional Programs and one of the course designers, said of the course. "We were so pleased with the work Institute participants did this year and hope that the ideas they generated can be developed for the benefit of the region and all of the area's young professionals."

The final session on April 22 allowed the participants to showcase their newly honed skills to their employers, supervisors and mentors. Businesses and organizations represented included MMG Insurance, The Aroostook Medical Center, Loring Job Corps Center, ACE Rent-A-Car, Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the County Federal Credit Union, and UMPI.

The Board Meeting was divided into three presentations: "The County Pitch," "Networking and the Portal Project," and "Community and Civic Involvement."

The first group delivered a pitch to the audience on the strengths of Aroostook County - which they identified as including its workforce, educational opportunities, sense of community, and recreational opportunities - and why people should consider relocating to the area. The second group discussed the importance of social networking and showing Aroostook County's strengths to the world through the Internet. The third group gave a presentation on the civic and community organizations available in this region, why it's important to get involved, and how to do so.

A Business Reception and Etiquette Dinner followed the board meeting. Institute participants and their guests, work supervisor and business mentor enjoyed a formal dinner and received etiquette tips along the way from Keith Madore, the University's etiquette specialist, and Carolyn Dorsey, Director of Continuing Education for Husson College.

Based on the success of YPI 2, plans are underway already for YPI 3, to take place in the spring of 2010.